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A.J. Allmendinger joins NBC Sports as motorsports analyst

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A.J. Allmendinger has joined the NBC Sports Group in a multi-year deal as part of it sports car and NASCAR coverage, the network announced Wednesday.

Allmendinger, who spent the last 12 years competing in the Cup Series, will begin his work with NBC in January.

Allmendinger will work on the various properties across NBC Sports’ motorsports portfolio, including as a booth analyst for the network’s exclusive coverage of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. Additionally, he will contribute regularly to NBCSN’s daily motorsports show, NASCAR America.

Allmendinger will make his broadcast debut during NBC Sports’ coverage of the 57th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Saturday, Jan. 26, where he is also expected to race as part of Meyer Shank Racing (MSR).

“I couldn’t be more excited to begin this new chapter in my life alongside some of the most knowledgeable and influential voices in motorsports, and to be a part of NBC Sports’ second-to-none coverage,” Allmendinger said in a press release.

During his NASCAR career, Allmendinger earned one Cup win and two Xfinity Series wins, all on road courses.

In addition to his years of NASCAR experience, Allmendinger brings knowledge from his time in sports cars and open-wheel racing.

In 2012, Allmendinger was part of the overall-winning team in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. In 2006, he earned five wins and placed third overall in the Champ Car World Series.

“A.J. loves to race and is passionate about IMSA,” said Sam Flood, NBC Sports’ Executive Producer and President of Production, in a press release. “His career as a driver across IMSA, NASCAR and Open Wheel will bring a unique mix of experience and insight to the NBC Sports team.”

INDYCAR: Patricio O’Ward turns heads in Carlin debut

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While the top story coming out of Sunday’s IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas is undoubtedly 18-year-old Colton Herta’s victory in only his third IndyCar start, another teenager made quite some noise during the first IndyCar race at the facility.

19-year-old Patricio O’Ward made an impressive start to his 2019 IndyCar campaign by starting and finishing in eighth position. It was the first of his 13 races this season for Carlin Racing.

“I think it was a pretty good race for us. We ended exactly where we started and didn’t go backwards, so I’d say that was a successful day” O’Ward said. “I know the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet had a top-five finish in it today and even though we couldn’t make it happen, it’s nice to know that we have the pace and can be fighting up front with the veteran drivers.”

O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champ, made his series debut for Harding Steinbrenner Racing at last year’s season finale at Sonoma Raceway, where he made it to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying and finished ninth. O’Ward was scheduled to race for the team full-time in 2019, but left in early February to pursue other options due to a lack of sponsorship.

Pato found a new home with Carlin, and despite missing preseason testing, he proved to be competitive from the get go and pressured some of IndyCar’s more tenured drivers, including Graham Rahal.

In what was undoubtedly the most daring move of the race, O’Ward ended a great battle with Rahal by hitting a superb outside pass on Lap 15.

O’Ward may have likely earned a better result on Sunday, if he didn’t have to save fuel in order to make the finish.

But with only two IndyCar starts to his credit, he is already racing like a seasoned veteran. Sunday’s IndyCar Classic may be the first of many successful outings for him this year.

After the race, he tweeted to his team: “Well done gentlemen … This is only the beginning.”

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